West palm beach, fl - Se habla espanol

How to Fight Back against Florida Shoplifting Charges

Have you been charged with shoplifting in Florida?Typically, people facing shoplifting charges fall into two categories. They either feel like the deck is stacked against them and there is no point in fighting back… or that it is not worth their time and effort because shoplifting is such a “minor” crime.Don’t fall into these traps. There are a number of possible defenses that you may be able to use to battle your charges – even if it seems like a fairly open and shut case. And while shoplifting obviously isn’t as serious as something like murder, the state of Florida definitely takes this offense seriously. Depending on the specifics of your case, you could be facing high fines, jail time, and more. Even if you are facing one of the least severe charges, it’s still something that’s going to show up whenever anyone does a background check, which can negatively impact your life for years to come.That’s why it’s so important to seek out a knowledgeable attorney who can help you come up with the best possible defense strategy for your situation.

Understanding Shoplifting Laws in Florida

First, let’s look at the definitions of shoplifting and the punishments associated with the charges.Under Florida law, shoplifting is called “retail theft” and covers several different actions, including any of the following behaviors committed with the intent of depriving a merchant:

  • Changing price tags
  • Changing an item’s container from one to another
  • Removing a shopping cart
  • Taking possession of a merchant’s property

Both civil and criminal penalties may apply for retail theft convictions in Florida. Civil penalties are filed by the merchant and may involve restitution for three times the damages, with a minimum of $200 in damages, plus court costs and attorney fees. Criminal penalties fall along the following scale:

  • Shoplifting property total value less than $100: second degree misdemeanor with fines up to $500 and up to 60 days in jail
  • Total value between $100 and $300: first degree misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail
  • Total value between $300 and $20,000: third degree felony with fines up to $5,000 and up to five years in prison
  • Total value between $20,000 and $100,000: second degree felony with fines up to $10,000 and up to 15 years in prison
  • Total value greater than $100,000: first degree felony with fines up to $10,000 and up to 30 years in prison

As you can see, the Florida court system takes shoplifting seriously. In some cases, you can end up in jail over stealing something as seemingly minor as a shirt or a necklace.

Strategies That Can Help You Battle Florida Shoplifting Charges

Here are several possible defenses you can use to fight shoplifting charges.Lack of intentIf you have evidence to support the argument that you thought the item already belonged to you, or that you accidently walked out of the store with an item in your purse or bag, your charges may be dropped.Lack of proofIf the prosecution does not have enough evidence to support the charges against you, you may be set free from the charges.Mistaken identityMost retail stores are equipped with security cameras. It’s possible that they may have misidentified you from the recordings or from a mistaken witness.Mental illnessKleptomaniacs suffer from an impulse to steal. In this case, rehabilitation may be better than jail time.EntrapmentIf someone forced you to shoplift against your will with threats or coercion, you may be able to use the defense of entrapment.Returned propertyIf you forgot to return an item you borrowed, or you attempted to return it after the shoplifting occurred, you may be able to use this defense against shoplifting charges.

West Palm Shoplifting Attorney

First offenseIf this is your first charge for retail theft, you may be eligible for a pretrial intervention program which can ultimately result in the charge being dropped.Need a free case review? Contact an experienced Florida retail theft attorney today to learn which defense applies to your case and how to fight your charge.About the Author:Attorney David W. Olson is the founder of the Law Offices of David W. Olson in West Palm Beach. He has been practicing criminal law and successfully representing clients throughout the State of Florida for over 30 years. Throughout his legal career, Mr. Olson has been honored numerous times for both his dedication and excellence in criminal law. He proudly holds the Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, as well as being recognized as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013), in the Nation’s Top One Percent of attorneys (2015), and as a 10 Best Member of the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys (2015). He has even received commendations from members of congress and other public officials for the fantastic work that he's done. Mr. Olson graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1981 and has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1983.

Free case review

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


Better call Saul? More like, BETTER CALL OLSON!

“David W. Olson is the best lawyer I have come across. He truly will sit and listen to your story and no matter what he will fight for your rights. He is very compassionate, and understanding. He will work with you and does his job with a good heart. Mr. Olson truly has saved my life and gave me a second chance. You wont go wrong with hiring David Olson as your attorney. I highly recommend him and I am proud to have chosen him as my attorney.”


Found the Best!

“David Olson has represented me on two occasions. I have since referred two of my friends and my nephew to him, and they have all told me they’ll always be grateful for that. Mr. Olson somehow had the charges dropped in both of my cases (actually, I do know how, because he and his staff answered all my questions and explained in detail things that I never would have thought of).”


Compassionate Attorney

"My husband and I hired Mr. Olson to represent our son a Florida gun shot victim. We are New Jersey residents. From day one we felt comfortable with Mr. Olson and found him to be easy to talk to and a very good listener. This was important to us after our horrible experience with another attorney who was more concerned with hearing himself speak than our wishes."


Personable and Highly Intelligent!

“I saw David today to discuss some possible outcomes and possibilities of a probable future case. I did not know if I was going to be charged at all but I wanted to speak to someone to get a better idea of what I was looking at and what my options were. As soon as I shook his hand I felt very comfortable and respected. I laid it all out for him and asked him every last question I had, all of which were answered respectfully and intelligently.”


The Best of the Best

"I have known David Olson for over 20 yrs. now and have had my rough times in my past and unfortunately I ended up in trouble with the law and really needed help from a real lawyer. I needed someone to listen to my side of the story and really fight my cases in court for me and get the BEST results for my cases. A very close friend said the man for the job is David W Olson; So I contacted him & he came to me the very next day to hear me out and I knew he was the lawyer that would do the best for me and he did.”

Chet B.

Hearty Recommendation

"I hired Mr. Olson from recommendation by family member. He was immediately behind my situation and put me completely at ease. There were no false promises, very upfront as far as expectations and outcomes.

His assistant, Jessica was a joy to work with as well. They came to my house, interviewed witnesses, went above and beyond and always respond to my calls. I totally endorse this attorney."